Problems with paycheck protection program application leaves Valley businessman frustrated

The CARES Act has freed up hundreds of billions of dollars to help people and businesses recover, but one of the signature parts of the act has had a slower rollout, as banks have been inundated with requests.

Under the CARES act, $350 billion was made available to help small businesses pay employees, with the loans being forgiven after eight weeks, but FOX 10 has heard from several local businesses in Arizona that have not been able to fully apply for the paycheck protection program.

DJ Lenz is one of the many small business owners who wanted to jump on the loan to help carry him through this storm. Lenz owns all of the Arizona Cheba Hut locations, and he has kept his staff on, even as business has dropped 50% in the last three weeks.

So far, Lenz is struggling to get any headway on the paycheck protection program loan. His bank has told him he’s in a queue, but little else. He’s started to apply for other small business loans to help out in the meantime, but the paycheck protection program, he says, has been the least clear.

"We are acting as if we are not getting that money," said Lenz. "We are trying all of the angles we can come up with, and if that money comes through, great. We’re able to keep people at work and put more people back on the line and get paychecks back in people's pockets, but we’re not going to assume we get it."

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council says the guidance for lenders came out just Friday. They say lenders are slammed, and it’s a mixed bag.

Officials with GPEC say they believe a majority of the states more than 500,000 small businesses are applying. They recommend businesspeople leverage their relationships with their current financial institution, and if that doesn’t work, keep trying other banks.

There are banks still accepting PPP applicants, and the Secretary of the Treasury has proposed adding another $250 billion to the fund.